Kesler’s goal sends Ducks past rival Kings, 2-1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ryan Kesler deflected home Francois Beauchemin’s shot for the tiebreaking goal with 7:39 to play and the Anaheim Ducks won their second Freeway Faceoff in seven days, beating the struggling Los Angeles Kings 2-1 Friday night.
Adam Henrique scored early in the third period and John Gibson made 23 saves for the Ducks, who have won six of nine overall.
Rookie Alex Iafallo evened it for Los Angeles moments after Henrique’s goal, but Kesler’s long deflection sent the puck bouncing past Jonathan Quick. Anaheim then hung on in a frantic final minute to even the archrivals’ season series at two games apiece.
Quick stopped 29 shots in the Kings’ sixth consecutive loss, extending their longest skid of the season.
After the Kings got off to an outstanding start to the season and the Ducks stumbled while dealing with major injury problems, Anaheim has pulled even with Los Angeles with 53 points apiece in the Pacific Division standings.
Anaheim got its first series victory of the season last Saturday night at Staples Center, winning 4-2 in a typically physical meeting. The local rivals had three fights in four seconds early in that game, but nobody dropped the gloves in this matchup.
Both teams realize it’s time to make a run for playoff position with the logjam of teams behind first-place Vegas in the Pacific Division, and the Ducks are getting serious.
After two scoreless periods, Henrique put the Ducks ahead with 17:55 to play by taking the puck in front of the net, going airborne and landing in the crease while his 11th goal trickled in.
Iafallo replied 2:43 later, swatting a rebound of defenseman Jake Muzzin’s shot over Gibson’s outstretched pad for the rookie forward’s first goal since Dec. 7.
Anaheim All-Star selection Rickard Rakell had six shots in the first two scoreless periods and another scoring chance on which the puck somehow hit both posts without going in.
Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano got several standing ovations in his return from a two-game suspension for checking Los Angeles’ Adrian Kempe in the clubs’ last meeting. The NHL’s widely criticized disciplinary decision ended Cogliano’s 11-season streak of 830 consecutive games without a miss since the start of his career.
The Ducks honored Cogliano on the scoreboard during a first-period stoppage, and he waved to acknowledge the ovation from fans including team owner Henry Samueli.
NOTES: Torrey Mitchell returned to the Kings’ lineup after sitting Thursday as a healthy scratch for the first time since joining the team in a trade with Montreal. Jonny Brodzinski was scratched instead. ... Ducks F Derek Grant was scratched for the third time in four games. ... Cogliano’s consecutive games streak was the fourth-longest in NHL history and the league’s longest in more than two decades.
Kings: Host the New York Rangers on Sunday.
Ducks: Host the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.
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